When you learn someone close to you is getting married, as a friend, you are happy and excited for them. Two people finding love and agreeing to start their life together is a beautiful thing. But also as a friend, stress and anxiety may set in. Weddings put a lot of pressure on friends to make the day special–along with the engagement party, bridal shower, bachelorette party, etc. And all of things can put a big whole in your budget.
I have six weddings to attend this year. And last year was equally filled with weddings because my own sister (and best friend) got married–and I was her Maid of Honor. I loved every minute of the experience, but it was a lot of work and cost a ton of money. I learned some tricks of the trade along the way, and they’ll help you be a great bridesmaid/wedding guest without breaking the bank!
Set a budget. It is important to think of all the expenses that go along with attending a wedding. I like to set a budget as soon as I receive the save the date, text message, etc. All weddings, depending on how close you are to the couple, may vary. It is important to determine how much to spend on an engagement gift, shower gift, a bachelorette party, and a wedding gift from the beginning. Then you have something to stick to!
Rent the Runway is my new best friend. Dresses are expensive today and with so many weddings and friends, it can be difficult to reuse an outfit. We spend hundreds on outfits and wear them once or twice never to be seen again. Well, our problems have been solved. Rent the Runway is a website where you can rent designer dresses for as low as $20! It really is amazing. I wore an $800 gown to a black tie wedding and the rental price was $75. Rent the Runway is perfect for the girl with six weddings ahead of her. They have annual memberships to purchase that waive shipping and insurance of every rental dress, plus you get a free birthday rental!
COUPONS, COUPONS, COUPONS. Coupons will be your best friend for bridal shower gifts. Hopefully, bridal registries will be at stores where coupons are welcomed. Places like Macy’s and Bed, Bath, & Beyond always have 20% off coupons that can really help you save money.
Become your own hair stylist. While I have been scheduling my quarterly haircuts around wedding season so I can get an awesome blowout for the day of a wedding, it doesn’t always work in my favor. YouTube hair tutorials are the perfect alternative. There is a world of knowledge out there from talented young woman doing their own hair. My new go-to style is curling my hair with a simple headband, salt water, and hairspray. The curls look amazing and effortless!
Get your make up done for free. A secret I learned for my sorority formal’s in college was to go to the mall, find a kiosk in Bloomingdale’s and get my makeup done. The artists do your make up for free as long as you buy one item from the company. You could get your makeup done professionally and only spend $20 on mascara that you know you’ll use in the future. This is a great deal compared to those fancy makeup salons that will charge you an arm and a leg.
Invest in accessories. Unlike dresses, accessories can be reused at weddings. That is why it’s important to invest in quality pieces that will last (or at least for 6 weddings)! Accessories spice up any ensemble and can make you stand out, whether it’s your shoes or handbag.
Ditch the date. Not bringing a date to weddings has saved me a lot this season. I am not seriously dating anyone at the moment, so why spend $100 to bring a friend as a date? I have also noticed that when I’m dateless at weddings, I have more fun. Plus, you can flirt with the groom’s friends. Moral of the story, going stag is the best choice.
Even though you’re trying to save money throughout this wedding season, you never want to appear cheap. Six weddings is a lot, but as a friend, each one needs to be treated graciously and generously. Weddings are supposed to be fun, and there are ways to make sure they don’t drown out your bank account.